Voluntary and regulatory approaches to managing recreation
Zoning may be entirely voluntary, it may be
enacted through regulatory mechanisms such as byelaws (see below)
or it may be a mixture of both. The decision as to where the
balance lies is likely to depend upon the extent of user co-operation
in the development of the scheme.
The technique can be implemented on a spatial
basis, whereby different activities are allocated specific areas
of a water body or on a temporal basis, whereby activities are
controlled at certain times of the day or at certain times of
the year. The latter may include closed seasons. The scale of
spatial zoning can range from policies designed to encourage
or discourage activities across counties or national parks through
the allocation of water bodies for primary uses to the setting
aside of parts of a site for different activities.
Zoning is often used as a management technique
for addressing safety or amenity issues. Its use is also increasingly
being considered for the management of activities for nature
conservation purposes. This may often include buffer zones or
exclusion zones which seek to protect particularly sensitive
features from the potential impacts of recreational activities.
Such zones may also be used to improve particular areas of the
site which may have undergone detrimental changes in the past
as a result of recreational activities.
Many recreational representative groups have
expressed concern, however, about the use of zoning as a nature
conservation management tool. Traditionally this tool has been
used purely for safety reasons. Two types are officially recognised:
‘areas to be avoided’ and ‘prohibited areas’. Each has an internationally
agreed definition which has been used throughout the world and
which is understood and generally observed by craft users. Recreational
representative groups have therefore expressed the concern that
the widespread use of zoning for purposes other than vessel
safety may dilute the safety impacts of zoning as generally
understood by mariners.
To date, zoning has rarely been used as a tool
for achieving conservation objectives alone. Often nature conservation
gains will be a by-product of the central safety and navigation
objectives of the scheme.
The following case studies of Skomer, Pulau
Seribou and Chesapeake Bay provide examples of the use of zoning
primarily for nature conservation purposes. It should be noted
however that these are examples applying to areas with special
conservation designations - the first being a marine nature
reserve and the second a marine national park. The Chesapeake
Bay example is one which is potentially more applicable to mSAC